Bridget & Bernadette

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Being twins, these girls developed a bond only twins can, even inventing a secret language of their own, which certainly became useful in the years to come. For Bridget and Bernadette, dancing was life. From a very early age they loved to put on a show, roping in any visitor, who happened to frequent their modest Parisian residence, to watch their performances.

Their craft developed into fulltime careers and they soon found themselves dancing with the follies in Paris, being wined and dined and of course courted in the heady Parisian nightlife of the time.

It was Bridget who first spotted a markedly uncomfortable Harry sitting with his friends Riley and Larry, in one of the booths at the back of the theatre. At the time, she was playing the character, Dick, in the musical of Dick Wittington’s Cat, and noticed his tanned skin, sharp blue eyes, and unease. It was plain to see this place didn’t suit him at all, and for Bridget it was immensity intriguing.

Funnily enough Harry also noticed the very gorgeous Bridget, after all the African bush was not the ideal the place to meet women, so he thought. Little did he know, some years later he would encounter the love of his life, Emily, in the back streets of Stone Town.

During a brief recess Bridget grabbed her sister, who happened not to be working that night, asking her to please distract Harry until they had a chance to meet. (The sisters made excellent ‘wing men’ when the necessity arose.) Sure enough, just as Harry was about to leave, Bernadette in a well-practiced maneuver, managed to engage the strange and uncomfortable Harry, who was far more comfortable standing down a wounded and charging African buffalo than talking to Bernadette. Eventually Bridget finished her performance and joined in the tête-à-tête. One thing led to another, and the the trio set out for a wild night of fun and absinthe, an outing it would take the robust Harry a full two days to recover from.

A strong bond formed between the trio, with Harry enjoying the delights of Bridget, and she teaching him a whole new set of skills which had very little to do with hunting or safaris.

Truth he told, Harry and Bridget’s romance was never made to last, but it was a welcomed distraction for Harry who was only in town to deal with his ailing father, Lord Mallard, and to manage his greedy brother. While on a hunt, Harry had received a telex telling of his father’s illness, and left for London straight away. He was never really interested in the family fortune, but felt it his duty to insure his older brother looked after the people who had been involved in their lives, paying their wages and honest share of Lord Mallard’s inheritance, if it came to that.

It was to be Harry’s final trip ‘home’, and month later, upon his father’s death he vowed never to go back to The the Big Smoke. This did, however, not stop the twins from regularly joining Harry on safari. They would occasionally find work in the show starved, wild frontier towns. Although Bridget and Harry’s romance never endured, their bond strengthened even more. So much so that when Harry met and fell in love with Emily, the three ladies were often seen out and about town, when Harry was away hunting, often gate crashing the strictly “men’s-only bar” in the Methaga Club in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital.

After a lifetime of dancing and partying it was enviable that the twins, who had never really ever met the men of their dreams, found their way to the banks of the Bitou River. Upon arrival, Bernadette swiftly put a dance troop together, with the local Xhosa tribal women, infusing European dance style with the rhythmic African beat, a combination so interesting that it became the toast of Paris for a while. Bridget found her real calling working in the local mission hospital. And so it was, that under the care and guidance of Harry the twins found perhaps what few people do, a happy place and simple life.

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